Monday, 13 July 2015

The Striders - logistics

Logistics. Definitely the most complex part of the "pre" expedition but also a very interesting one.
There is a lot to think of. And every time I think I'm nearly done, there's another little thing coming up. But now here I am: three weeks before hitting the road, I finally feel like I'm really getting there! J

Logistics can be divided in three distinct sections: the outward journey to Scandinavia, the expedition itself and the return trip.

Getting there

Planning the journey. Among the meany options we have, after many changes and some wise advice (thank you Vesa Orava!), we're opting for (what seems) the best solution:
Marc, our Little Summer Boy ( a now 6-year old boy who comes for the 2nd time to spend a month or so with us), the dogs and I will drive up to Rovaniemi, using the following itinerary:
Switzerland- Puttgarten/DE- ferry to Rotby/D - Helsingborg/SE - Kappelskär/SE - ferry to Naantali/FI - drive up to Rovaniemi.
We chose to take only short-time ferries on the outward journey as it will be a first for the dogs and I'd rather get them use to it the easy way.
From Rovaniemi, we leave the car there - I will pick it up on the way back. Marc and Little Boy fly home while the Striders head north by bus to Hetta/FI and finally get a lift to reach Kautokeino/NO on Sunday night 09 August. Right on time!

This implies:
Calculating the itinerary. Making sure the timing is right. Booking the ferries and plane tickets. Checking the bus timetables, fares and rules regarding dogs. Getting dogs vaccinations done and passports updated. Calling Swedish vets for the deworming treatment that must be done in the 24-120 hours before entering Finland. Contacting people in Rovaniemi to find a suitable place to leave our dear Land Cruiser HJ61 for some 30 days.

On the trail

For that part, the logistics is mainly linked to food and spare clothes supply boxes.
First defining the stages and the approximate dates of where and when I will stop. The locations chosen needed to be easily accessible by car or bus to ensure the delivery of the boxes. There will be 3 boxes on the trail and one on arrival dispatched as follows:
Kilpisjärvi - 200km
Abisko - 200km
Ritsem - 150km
Kvikkjokk - 250km
Each box contains some 10kg of food and snacks for the next stretch. Abisko has only 3-days food while Ritsem... 7 days! Abisko and Kvikkjokk boxes will also have spare clothes.
Then I had to deal with the delivery of the boxes. I obviously want them on time. But not too early neither. And there were other factors to take into account. So I finally contacted a professional transporter we work with on a regular basis to take care of the whole thing. This way, I feel relaxed and don't have to think about it. One should learn to delegate to specialists!

Calculating and distributing the dehydrated meals and dogs portions. Preparing the snacks and breakfast portions. Preparing spare clothes for use during the trail (easy: 2 pairs of socks, a pair of walking trousers and 2 clean t-shirts) and, much harder, after the trail (which trousers do I feel like wearing there? how will the weather be? do these pants match this top?.. After 3 weeks in the wild, I'm back to girly attitude..!).

The journey home

Now that I got to Kvikkjokk, I must find a way back down :-). The nice thing is that my mom will meet me at the arrival! and we will do most of the return trip together. That'll be so nice! So there again, after many searches and asking around, we chose the following option:
Getting back to Rovaniemi by bus and train:
Kvikkjokk - Jokkmokk - Lulea- Haparanda-Tornio - Kemi - Rovaniemi
In Rovaniemi, pick-up the car, visit some friends (hello Kamil and Alex!). Then night train to Tampere and drive down to Helsinki. From there, we take 2-day ferry cruise to Germany: holiday time!
We could take the train down to Helsinki but that would be too long for Sparta and Nyx.

This all implies: booking more ferry and train tickets, checking pet-friendly accommodation and ferry cabins, calling vets in Lulea for another deworming treatment and comply with borders rules, and planning all this within the given time-frame.

Are we ready?

It might seem easy and straightforward when put like this. But I can tell you it took me a hell of a lot of time to have everything works together! And we haven't even left yet... But I am convinced and know from experience that a well-prepared trip leaves more fun and freedom once on the tracks!

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